This week sees the last (!) of the Florida Super Senior Grand Prix tournaments, with this one being the big (284 entries) CAT II played at the classic St. Petersburg Country Club. I was reunited with my January partner, Noble Hendrix vs. a very challenging field of some of the top senior doubles players in the country.
Unseeded For Good Reason
With 17 teams in the 75s, they selected four teams to be seeded; but based on the competition, we were not one of them. So given the draw, Noble and I would have to first beat the tough team of Terry Tetzlaff and Roland Klieve (who took Hank Irvine and me to three sets at Lakewood National) and then …
- Beat #3 Hank Irvine and Evert Jonsson, and then
- Beat #2 Hugh Thomson and Jerry Thomas, and then
- Beat #1 Fred Drilling and Don Long
Who is betting on that trifecta?!
Change a Losing Game
But learning from the two matches Hank and I played vs. Tetzlaff/Klieve, Noble and I played much more aggressively and controlled the net. On Thursday (with temps in the high 50’s) we took the important first step by winning our first-round match 6-1, 6-4.
Then on Friday, we faced Hank and Evert … determined to change how the match was going to be played: we were going to try to stop Evert from beating us with big forehands from the baseline and Hank roaming at the net with his incredible angle volleys.
The plan was good. The execution was somewhat suspect. By lobbing, poaching, and faking at the net, we were successful in minimizing Evert’s big forehand; but we couldn’t keep Hank totally out of play … and he led them to a straight set victory (again!).
Triple Crown Winners
The NSMTA initiated two new awards this year: for every senior who played in all three of the national CAT II tournaments (Longboat Key, Sanchez/Casal, and St. Pete), they received a commemorative tee shirt; and for those who had the best record in singles or doubles in their age group, they received a nice, pull-over warmup jacket.
In the 75s, Fred Drilling received the singles award (and if they had awarded the same person for both singles and doubles, he would have won that one too) … but Noble and I were happily the fill-in award winners.
For all the match scores to date, just click HERE.
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